Living a Full Life

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
(John 15:11 NAS)
Can a Christian have fun?  Does God allow us to enjoy life?  I believe too many Christians believe that we can’t possibly have fun… too many “you can’t do that”.  If a Christian really did have fun and joy in their lives, then they aren’t spiritual enough or they aren’t serious about their faith.  Our churches, over the years, have bought into the this hogwash in some way or the other.  God desires us to enjoy this life He has given us.  He wants us to be joyful!
Yet, too many believers are struggling.  By the time they get to church, (if they are still coming) they are tired, weary and beaten down by this same world we are to be joyful in.  For some reason, the singing, the lessons, and the message doesn’t make them joyful at all.  If fact, they feel worse than they did when they first came.  Now some of that can be attributed to our idea that church services are so serious and emotions have nothing to do with worship.  Fiddlesticks…
Yet, the church services aren’t the real problem.  Some Christians believe that their problems in life are dragging them down so that there is no way that they can be joyous.  I must admit that the problems that I face in my life aren’t conducive to me jumping up and down and praising Jesus, so I understand.  Yet, the Apostle Paul tells us that we are to be content in all of life’s situations.  In fact, there were times when he was imprisoned, he sang praises to God.  He was joyous.  Hmm.
Then there are the pious believers whose life consist of nothing but church.  They are so concerned about the do’s and the don’ts of life they forget to actually live.  No, I’m not saying that it’s OK to sin.  Nope.  It’s just that they refuse to do so many things in this world that is good and pleasurable because they believe that it is sin or can lead to sin.  For instance, there are believers that didn’t (and some still) watch television because there was an ungodly show on one of it’s channels. Hey, how about just not watching that program!  The list of things go on and on… you can’t do that because it “might” lead to sin.  The point is, I believe that these folks might be scared to live in a world that is ever changing.  Look, if you think Facebook is the devil’s site, then I’m sorry, I just love keeping up with my friends and seeing all those cute pictures of my grand kids. Besides, don’t you think the Apostle Paul would’ve been all over the internet with the Gospel?  
In some ways, these are marvelous times in which we live… enjoy them.  We have too many folks just dredging through life without any real joy. 
But back to the question… Can a Christian have fun?  The answer is YES!  Of course the next word is but…  but, read the first part of the above verse: “These things I have spoken to you, that…”    You want His joy in you?  You want your joy to be overflowing?  If yes, then you need to read what He said before verse 11.  If you don’t want joy, then don’t.
What does He tell them so that their joy may be full?  
First off, He tells them to abide in Him.  What does it mean to abide?  It means to remain in Him.  Don’t stray from Him.  Put Him first in your life.  Stop putting other things ahead of Him.  He talks about the vine and the branch.  He is the vine and we are the branches.  We have to abide in Him in order to produce fruit.  Nothing is more joyous than being productive.  It gives meaning and purpose to our lives.
Then He tells them to abide in His words.  What does that mean?  Is He talking about the ten commandments?  No, that’s been tried and we failed miserably.  There are two great commandments,  “Love God with all your heart, body and soul”  and “Love thy neighbor as thyself”
 If we do that, we will have no problem with all the other commandments.
He tells them to abide in His love.  Do we abide in His love or do we desire the love of someone or something else in life.  When we love someone, do we love in the way that He loves us?  Too many are looking for love in all the wrong places.  Placing their love in all the wrong things.  All of those people or things will disappoint and let you down.  You need to abide or remain in His love.
Then He says that His joy can remain in us and that our joy can be overflowing.  Even when things are going badly in our relationships, our work, our finances, our health… we can have joy and happiness in our lives because our happiness will not come these things, but from the Lord Himself.  He will give us that peace that passeth all understanding.
I know that He wants me to enjoy this life He has given me.  Each day, each breath, is a gift of God… not something to dread.  We just need to abide in Him, in His words and in His love.  After all, in a hundred years from now, none of these things that makes unhappy today will matter,  we will be in the presence of God!  So take a deep breath and and say  “OK God, here I am, let’s have fun today” 
Love ya,
Brother Randy

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